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Transport Committee releases UK aviation report

Posted 25 April 2022 · Add Comment

Today the Transport Select Committee has released its fifth special report - UK aviation: reform for take-off - in which it stresses the need for the UK Government to prioritise the publication of its aviation recovery plan.

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In the report, the Transport Committee states that it welcomes the Government’s decision to remove all international travel requirements and that future international travel contingency measures will only be implemented in extreme circumstances, giving the UK a competitive advantage over countries slower to remove such restrictions, whilst incentivising tourists and businesspeople alike to visit the UK.

It said that enabling test-free travel makes the UK a more attractive destination for tourists and business travellers, who will support the country’s economic recovery from the pandemic and that the aviation recovery package also needs to support domestic and international connectivity recovery, with Government implementing flexible rules on the provision of Public Service Obligation routes to improve connectivity between the four UK nations and negotiating bilateral agreements 'with countries with high rates of vaccination to facilitate the removal of such restrictions'.  

The report emphasises the need for the Government to 'build international travel into its future pandemic resilience planning, developing a transparent and predictable system that can be used to facilitate safe international travel during potential future health crises'. It also urges the Government to set up 'a global taskforce to promote the standardisation of the remaining international travel requirements that were introduced in response to the coronavirus pandemic' and highlights the need to 'include a review of the slot allocation system in its strategy for the recovery of the UK aviation sector'.

The Committee calls for the Government’s aviation recovery plan to be published as a priority, no later than 1st June 2022, when the summer travel season will begin in earnest, giving added impetus to the aviation industry’s economic recovery from the pandemic, which is now well under way, as well as setting up an international travel toolkit and building international travel into its future pandemic resilience planning.

Although supporting the Government's changes to Air Passenger Duty (APD) being introduced 1st April 2023, the Committee says Government should bring that date forward to 1st July this year, to support domestic routes, that it must do more to protect consumer rights and 'introduce an Airline Insolvency Bill in the next Session of Parliament to set out a framework to handle future airline insolvencies to protect the interests of consumers, employees and taxpayers', take steps to 'limit greenhouse gas emissions as air transport movements increase' and 'continue to invest in new aviation decarbonisation technologies, including synthetic aviation fuels, to ensure that the UK aviation sector emits less than it did before the pandemic'.
Responding to the Transport Select Committee’s report UK aviation: reform for take-off, Airport Operators Association Chief Executive Karen Dee said: “The Transport Select Committee’s report provides welcome recognition of the devastating impact the pandemic had on aviation and the difficulty the UK airports faced as a result of ever-changing travel restrictions, without the necessary transparency and evidence-base to build trust in the rules.
“We join the Committee in calling for a comprehensive recovery package that allows our sector to recover sustainably and prevents the UK from falling behind our international competitors. As we set out in our own report, Reconnecting the UK: recovering aviation connectivity, this must include financial measures to help bring routes back across the UK, or we risk losing out to European airports who are financially better placed to attract airlines thanks to generous sector-specific government support during the pandemic.  
“If government does not deliver this, the impacts are clear: people and businesses who depend on aviation for their own success will carry the heaviest burden, particularly outside London and the South East of England. They will not be able to get their products and services to market easily, to bring tourists and business visitors to the UK or to invest in their local community.”

To access this House of Commons Committee report: UK aviation: reform for take-off




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